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Title: SOFIA

SOFIAs New Science Vision
R. D. Gehrz Lead, SOFIA Community Task
Force Department of Astronomy, University of
Minnesota http//
  • The SOFIA New Science Vision Activity
  • Producing the SOFIA New Science Vision Report
  • Blue Ribbon Panel Review of the Report
  • Outline of the SOFIA New Science Vision Report
  • SOFIA Science New Vision Report science
  • Summary

Why the Need for New Science Vision?
  • In some recent presentations to scientific review
    groups, including high-level NASA advisory
    groups, we have received comments that can be
    paraphrased as The SOFIA science case that you
    have presented is useful, but does not rise to
    the level that justifies the costs of SOFIA.
  • Cost per science observing hour for SOFIA is very
    high, even compared to expensive space missions
    like HST, Spitzer, Chandra. The cost relative to
    science realized is NASAs foremost project
    evaluation metric - therefore we need to
    emphasize the most clearly important and unique
    aspects of the SOFIA science case

TLR - 3
A New Science Vision for SOFIA
  • The original science case for SOFIA was
    articulated more than fifteen years ago
  • Astronomical science has progressed
  • SOFIA science projects will now build on the
    Spitzer results
  • Science goals for SOFIA and the soon to be
  • Herschel mission need to be coordinated
  • Need to develop a small set of killer SOFIA
  • Immediately recognizable as answering, or being
    instrumental in
  • answering, fundamental astrophysics questions
  • A a short list of compelling SOFIA science
  • Projects where SOFIA data are essential and
    not just
  • supplementary

TLR - 4
SOFIA Science Vision Products
  • New SOFIA Science Vision Publication that is
  • Concise, well documented, and clearly written
    for a general audience
  • Peer reviewed
  • Conveys the compelling scientific contributions
    of SOFIA
  • Justifies SOFIAs complementary and extended
    roles for existing
  • and planned space and ground-based IR
  • 75 or more of the science enabled by first
    generation instruments
  • Executive summary of the SOFIA Science Vision
  • A 16 Slide PowerPoint synopsis of the SOFIA
    Science Vision for presentations to high-level
    committees and the community

TLR - 5
SOFIA New Science Vision Working Group
  • Co-Chairs were Eric Becklin and Tom Roellig
  • Weekly meetings at ARC with USRA and NASA
  • to coordinate efforts
  • Four science theme panels and chairs were
  • Formation of Stars and Planets
  • The Interstellar Medium of the Milky Way
  • Galaxies and the Galactic Center
  • Planetary Science
  • Panel chairs solicited panel members
  • An international team of over 40 scientists
    contributed to
  • the New Science Vision document

TLR - 6
Peer Review Blue Ribbon Board Charter
  • Does the New Science Vision document successfully
  • Reflect important science investigations that
  • wide interest within the astronomical
  • Articulate a unique role for SOFIA in
    attacking these
  • investigations?
  • Show that the SOFIA observations are feasible
  • present and anticipated SOFIA
  • Indicate how the SOFIA results will complement
  • enhance the discoveries from other
    observatories and
  • missions?

TLR - 7
The Blue Ribbon Board Meeting
  • A draft of the New Science Vision document was
    generated and submitted to the Blue Ribbon review
    board on October 19, 2008
  • Blue Ribbon board met at ARC on October 28, 2008
    Members and their assigned science areas were
  • John Mather (GSFC), Chair
  • Michael Brown (Caltech), solar system
  • Steve Kahn (Stanford), galactic center
  • Gillian Knapp (Princeton), star formation
  • William Mathews (UCSC), galactic center
  • Gary Melnick (CfA), ISM
  • Marcia Rieke (Arizona), nearby galaxies
  • Hans-Peter Röser (Stuttgart), star formation
  • Michael Werner (JPL/Caltech), ISM
  • The Blue Ribbon board report received on December
    4, 2008

TLR - 8
Activities Since the Blue Ribbon Review
  • Produced a close-to-the-final version revised
    taking account of the Blue Ribbon Boards
    comments, including an executive summary
  • Submitted the revised version to our Blue Ribbon
    Boars for a final review (Note that the length
    has grown from 50 to 136 pages)
  • Received Board responses by 4/15/09
  • Responses were universally favorable, with only a
    few relatively minor suggested changes
  • Created a separate document, The Case for SOFIA
  • Originally written for NASA HQ
  • Very popular with the lay public as well
  • 1,800 copies printed to date, 1,300 distributed

TLR - 9
Concluding the Vision Report Activity
  • Final revisions, proofreading, NASA Headquarters
    approval, and printing were concluded during the
    week of May 11, 2009
  • The final printed version was presented at the
    SOFIA Science Council meeting May14 15, 2009
  • The printed version will be sent out widely and
    distributed at the AAS meeting in Pasadena
  • The remaining task is to incorporate the content
    into a PowerPoint slide set

TLR - 10
Table of Contents of The Science Vision for the
Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy
  • Executive Summary
  • Chapter 1 Introduction
  • Chapter 2 The Formation of Stars and Planets
  • Chapter 3 The Interstellar Medium of the Milky
  • Chapter 4 Galaxies and the Galactic Center
  • Chapter 5 Planetary Sciences
  • Appendices A-C Acronyms and Terminology,
  • Additional Tables and Figures, References

Chapter 1 Introduction
  • Facility overview
  • Unique capabilities
  • First generation instruments
  • Spatial resolution and sensitivity
  • SOFIA and other missions
  • Instrument, Technology, and E PO

The Advantages of SOFIA
  • Above 99.8 of the water vapor
  • Transmission at 14 km gt80 from 1 to 800 µm
  • on the obscured IR regions from 30 to 300
  • Instrumentation wide variety, rapidly
    interchangeable, state-of-the art SOFIA is a
    new observatory every few years!
  • Mobility anywhere, anytime
  • Twenty year design lifetime
  • A near-space observatory that comes home after
    every flight

SOFIA and Major IR Imaging/Spectroscopic Space

Wavelength (µm)
Frequency (THz)
Warm Spitzer
Ground-based Observatories
Key Astrophysics Questions for SOFIA
  • Chapter 2 The Formation of Stars and Planets
  • The Formation of Massive Stars
  • Understanding Proto-planetary Disks
  • Astrochemistry in Star Forming Regions

SOFIA and Regions of Star Formation
How will SOFIA shed light on the process of star
formation in Giant Molecular Clouds like the
Orion Nebula?

With 9 SOFIA beams for every 1 KAO beam, SOFIA
imagers/HI-RES spectrometers can analyze the
physics and chemistry of individual protostellar
condensations where they emit most of their
energy and can follow up on HERSCHEL discoveries.
Sources Embedded in Massive Cloud Cores
  • In highly obscured objects,
  • no mid-IR source may be
  • detectable
  • 20 to 100 microns can
  • provide a key link to
  • shorter wavelengths

Magnetic Fields in Massive Star Forming Regions
  • Within the dashed contour, NIR and sub-mm
    disagree on field direction. NIR probes outer
    low density material. FIR will probe warm,
    dense material
  • A polarimetric capability for HAWC is being

Kandori, R., et al. 2007, PASJ, 59, 487
SOFIA and Extra-Solar Circumstellar Disks
What can SOFIA tell us about circumstellar disks?
850 µm
JCMT beam
  • SOFIA imaging and spectroscopy can resolve disks
    to trace the evolution of the spatial
    distribution of the gaseous, solid, and icy gas
    and grain constituents
  • SOFIA can shed light on the process of planet
    formation by studying the temporal evolution of
    debris disks

53 µm
Debris disk around e Eridanae
SOFIA beam sizes
The chemistry of disks with radius and Age
  • High spatial and spectral
  • resolution can determine
  • where different species
  • reside in the disk
  • small radii produce
  • double-peaked, wider lines.
  • Observing
  • many disks
  • at different
  • ages will trace
  • disk chemical
  • evolution

Astrochemistry in Star Forming Regions
  • SOFIA is the only mission that can provide
    spectrally resolved data on the 63 and 145 ?m
    OI lines to shed light on the oxygen deficit in
    circumstellar disks and star-forming clouds
  • SOFIA has the unique ability to spectrally
    resolve water vapor lines in the Mid-IR to probe
    and quantify the creation of water in disks and
    star forming environments

Kandori, R., et al. 2007, PASJ, 59, 487
Key Astrophysics Questions for SOFIA
  • Chapter 3 The Interstellar Medium of the Milky
  • Massive Stars and the ISM Photodissociation
    Regions (PDRs)
  • The Diversity and Origins of Dust in the ISM
    Evolved Star Contributions
  • The Role of Large, Complex Molecules in the ISM
    Identification of PAHs
  • Deuterium in the ISM Constraints from HD
  • Related Objects of Opportunity
  • Eruptive Variable Stars, Classical Novae, and

Thermal Emission from ISM Gas and Dust
  • SOFIA is the only mission in the next decade that
    is sensitive to the entire Far-IR SED of a galaxy
    that is dominated by emission from the ISM
    excited by radiation from massive stars and
    supernova shock waves
  • The SED is dominated by PAH emission, thermal
    emission from dust grains, and by the main
    cooling lines of the neutral and ionized ISM

Kandori, R., et al. 2007, PASJ, 59, 487
Spectral Energy Distribution (SED) of the entire
LMC (courtesy of F. Galliano)
SOFIA and Classical Nova Explosions
What can SOFIA tell us about gas phase abundances
in Classical Nova Explosions?
  • Gas phase abundances of CNOMgNeAl
  • Contributions to ISM clouds and the primitive
    Solar System
  • Kinematics of the Ejection

SOFIA and Classical Nova Explosions
What can SOFIA tell us about the mineralogy of
dust produced in Classical Nova Explosions?
  • Stardust formation, mineralogy, and abundances
  • SOFIAs spectral resolution and wavelength
    coverage is required to study amorphous,
    crystalline, and hydrocarbon components
  • Contributions to ISM clouds and the Primitive
    Solar System

QV Vul
QV Vul
  • QV Vul formed four
  • types of stardust
  • Amorphous carbon
  • SiC
  • Amorphous silicates
  • Hydrocarbons

SOFIA Will Study the Diversity of Stardust
Herbig AeBe Post-AGB and PNe Mixed chemistry
post-AGB C-rich AGB O-rich AGB Mixed chemistry
AGB Deeply embedded YSO HII region refection
  • ISO SWS Spectra stardust is spectrally diverse
    in the regime covered by SOFIA
  • Studies of stardust mineralogy
  • Evaluation of stardust contributions from
    various stellar populations
  • Implications for the lifecycle of gas and dust
    in galaxies

Kandori, R., et al. 2007, PASJ, 59, 487
Thermal Emission from PAH Rich Objects
  • A key question is whether portions of the
    aromatic population of PAHs are converted to
    species of biological significance
  • Far-IR spectroscopy can constrain the size and
    shape of PAH molecules and clusters.
  • The lowest lying vibrational modes (drumhead
    modes) will be observed by SOFIAs spectrometers

Kandori, R., et al. 2007, PASJ, 59, 487
Vibrational modes of PAHs in a planetary nebula
and the ISM (A. Tielens 2008)
SOFIA Observations of ISM HD
  • The 112?m ground-state rotational line of HD is
    accessible to GREAT
  • ISO detection of SGR B shows that HD column
  • of 1017 1018 cm-2 can be detected
  • All deuterium in the Universe was
  • originally created in the Big Bang
  • D is destroyed by astration in stars
  • Therefore, D abundance probes the ISM
  • that has never been cycled through stars
  • 112 ?m observations of HD can be used to
    determine ISM H/D abundances
  • Cold HD (Tlt50K) is a proxy for cold molecular
  • The 112 ?m line can be used to map the Galactic
    distribution of cold
  • molecular gas just as 21 cm maps the
    distribution of neutral hydrogen

Atmospheric transmission around the HD line at
40,000 feet

Key Astrophysics Questions for SOFIA
  • Chapter 4 Galaxies and the Galactic Center
  • The Galactic Center Warm Clouds and Strong
  • Fields
  • The Interstellar Medium and the Star Formation
  • of External Galaxies
  • Tracing the Universes Star Formation History
  • Far-IR Fine Structure Lines

SOFIA and the Black Hole at the Galactic Center
  • SOFIA imagers and spectrometers can resolve
    detailed structures in the circum-nuclear disk at
    the center of the Galaxy
  • An objective of SOFIA science is to understand
    the physical and dynamical properties of the
    material that feeds the massive black hole at the
    Galactic Center

SOFIA beams
The ISM and Star Formation in External Galaxies
  • SOFIA observations of Far-IR lines can be
    conducted at unprecedented spatial resolution
  • ISM abundances and physical conditions can be
    studied as a function of location and
    nucleocentric distance

Kandori, R., et al. 2007, PASJ, 59, 487
The Star Formation History of the Universe
  • CII emission and the Far-IR continuum trace
    the physical extent and ages of starburst
    episodes with redshift
  • SOFIA can detect CII in the redshift range z
    0.25 to 1.25
  • This range covers most of cosmic history back
    to the time when the star formation rate per
    unit volume had peaked
  • SOFIA can determine whether starbursts at z 1
    were galaxy- wide or spatially confined

The co-moving history of star formation in the
Universe (Smail et al. 2002) comparing SOFIA
capabilities (pink) with existing data (symbols)
and capabilities of ground-based observatories
Kandori, R., et al. 2007, PASJ, 59, 487
NASA Pioneer Venus UV image of Venus
Key Astrophysics Question for SOFIA
  • Chapter 5Planetary Science
  • Primitive Bodies
  • Extra-Solar Planetary Material
  • Giant Planets
  • Venus Earths Neglected Sibling
  • Titan a Pre-biological Organic Laboratory
  • Related Objects of Opportunity
  • Bright Comets, Occultations, Transits of
    Extra-Solar Planets

Occultation Astronomy with SOFIA
How will SOFIA help determine the properties of
small Solar System bodies?
  • Occultation studies probe sizes, atmospheres,
    satellites, and rings of small bodies in the
    outer Solar system.
  • SOFIA can fly anywhere on Earth to position
    itself in the occultation shadow. Hundreds of
    events are available per year compared to a
    handful for fixed ground and space-base

Occultations and Atmospheres
Isothermal above 1220 km with strong inversion
layer below 1215 km
B. Sicardy et al., Nature, 424, 168 (2003)
This occultation light curve observed on the KAO
(1988) probed Plutos atmosphere J. L. Elliot
et al., Icarus 77, 148-170 (1989)
Occultations Rings and Moons
This occultation light curve observed on the KAO
in 1977 shows the discovery of a five ring system
around Uranus J. L. Elliot, E. Dunham, and D.
Mink, Nature 267, 328-330 (1977)
Observing Comets with SOFIA
  • Comet nuclei are the Rosetta Stone of the Solar
    System and
  • their ejecta reveal the contents and physical
    conditions of the primitive Solar Nebula when
    they are ablated during perihelion passage
  • Comet nuclei, comae, tails, and trails emit
    primarily at the thermal IR wavelengths
    accessible with SOFIA
  • Emission features from grains, ices, and
    molecular gases
  • occur in the IR and are strongest when comets
    are near
  • perihelion
  • SOFIA has unique advantages IR Space
    platforms like
  • Spitzer, Herschel, and JWST) cannot view
    comets during
  • perihelion passage due to pointing constraints

SOFIA and Comets Mineral Grains
What can SOFIA observations of comets tell us
about the origin of the Solar System?
ISO Data
  • Comet dust mineralogy amorphous, crystalline,
    and organic constituents
  • Comparisons with IDPs and meteorites
  • Comparisons with Stardust
  • Only SOFIA can make these observations near

Spitzer Data
The vertical lines mark features of
crystalline Mg-rich crystalline olivine
SOFIA and Comets Gas Phase Constituents
What can SOFIA observations of comets tell us
about the origin of the Solar System?
C. E. Woodward et al. 2007, ApJ, 671, 1065
B. P. Bonev et al. 2007, ApJ, 661, L97
C/2003 K4 Spitzer
  • Production rates of water and other volatiles
  • Water H2 ortho/para (parallel/antiparallel)
    hydrogen spin isomer ratio gives the water
    formation temperature a similar analysis can
    done on ortho/para/meta spin isomers of CH4
  • Only SOFIA can make these observations near

SOFIA and Comets Protoplanetary Disks
What can SOFIA observations of comets tell us
about the origins of our Solar System and other
solar systems?
ISO Observations Adapted from Crovisier et al.
1996, Science 275, 1904 and Malfait et al. 1998,
AA 332, 25
Image of Solar System IDP (Interplanetary Dust
50 microns
Disk System
ISO Data
Solar System Comet
  • The similarities in the silicate emission
    features in HD 100546 and C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp
    suggest that the grains in the stellar disk
    system and the small grains released from the
    comet nucleus were processed in similar ways

SOFIA and the Gas Giant Planets
  • SOFIAs unique capabilities
  • of wavelength coverage, high spatial
    resolution, and long duration will open new
    windows of understanding of the giant planets
    through studies of their atmospheric
    compositions, structures, and seasonal and
    secular variability
  • These studies may enhance our understanding of
    the atmospheres of large, extra- solar hot

The IR spectrum of Neptune (Orton et al. 1987)
Varying thernmal emission across the face of
Jupiter showing beam sizes for FORECAST (NASA
IRTF image)
Kandori, R., et al. 2007, PASJ, 59, 487
SOFIA and Venus Earths Neglected Sibling
  • The chemistry and dynamics of Venuss
    atmosphere are poorly understood
  • High resolution spectrometer on the Venus
    Express failed
  • Pointing constraints prevent our major space
    observatories from observing Venus
  • Sofia has the spectrometers and the sunward
    pointing capability to play a discovery-level
    role in our understanding of Venuss atmosphere

Kandori, R., et al. 2007, PASJ, 59, 487
NASA Pioneer Venus UV image of Venus
SOFIA and Extra-solar Planet Transits
How will SOFIA help us learn about the
properties of extra-solar planets?
  • More than 268 extra-solar planets more than 21
    transit their primary star
  • SOFIA flies above the scintillating component
    of the atmosphere where it
  • can detect transits of planets across bright
    stars at high signal to noise

HD 209458b transit a) artists concept and b)
  • Transits provide good estimates for the mass,
    size and density of the planet
  • Transits may reveal the presence of,
    satellites, and/or planetary rings

  • The New Science Vision Report for SOFIA is now in
    print and will be released on June 7, 2009 at the
    214th Meeting of the American Astronomical
    Society in Pasadena, CA
  • SOFIA is expected to address epic scientific
    questions for more than a decade
  • See our the SOFIA website at

The Initial SOFIA Instrument Complement
  • HIPO High-speed Imaging Photometer for
  • FLITECAM First Light Infrared Test Experiment
  • FORCAST Faint Object InfraRed CAmera for the
    SOFIA Telescope
  • GREAT German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahetz
  • CASIMIR CAltech Submillimeter Interstellar
    Medium Investigations Receiver
  • FIFI-LS Field Imaging Far-Infrared Line
  • HAWC High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera
  • EXES Echelon-Cross -Echelle Spectrograph
  • SAFIRE Submillimeter And Far InfraRed Experiment

SOFIAs First-Generation Instruments
Facility-class instrument Developed as a
PI-class instrument, but will be converted to
Facility-class during operations
SOFIA Science For the Whole Community